from my sketchbook: sammee tong

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they're wise and they're witty, and they're ready to please
Over thirty years, Sammee Tong appeared in over seventy movies and television shows as houseboys, cooks, waiters and other stereotypical roles that Hollywood offered Chinese-American actors. Sammee worked regularly in Westerns and the Charlie Chan  and  Mr. Moto  detective series. He even tried his hand at comedy as a laundry owner in the madcap It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World  in 1963. On television, Sammee was a regular cast member, playing “Peter Tong”, houseboy to playboy attorney Bentley Gregg (played by John Forsythe), on five seasons of the sitcom Bachelor Father.  When Bachelor Father  was canceled, Sammee was again cast as a houseboy, this time on the new ABC sitcom Mickey  starring Mickey Rooney. The show faced tough competition in its Wednesday night time slot, as it was opposite the popular Dick Van Dyke Show  on CBS. ABC executives debated whether to renew the series. Sammee, a heavy gambler, depended on a regular salary to pay off his serious gambling debts. Fearing the show’s cancellation, Sammee committed suicide on October 27, 1964, effectively ending ABC’s dilemma.




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